Guy Tillim

Summer 2005

The Photographers' Gallery, 8 Great Newport Street


Tillim’s work, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, includes a visit to Mobutu’s residence at Gbadolite which in its palatial grandeur reflects how much this African leader modelled himself on his colonial predecessor. These photographs show the crumbling palaces, empty and discarded, almost as mausoleums to a more recent history of oppression. Coupled with these striking interiors and landscapes, Tillim’s portraits of child Mai-mai soldiers, wearing leaves as camouflage, seem to appear as the contemporary reincarnation of the young African troops who were forced into colonial armies in the late 1880s. In other photographs refugees crowd the roads as combat erupts between rival warlords. These images reveal the daily current threats to everyday life.